August 12, 2010 / 12:28 PM / 10 years ago

Ecuador rocked by 6.9 quake, no major damage

QUITO (Reuters) - A strong 6.9 magnitude earthquake struck Ecuador near the centre of the Andean OPEC member nation on Thursday, but there were no reports of deaths or serious damage, authorities and media said.

State-owned oil company Petroecuador said production was normal and there was no impact on its infrastructure after the quake, which was centred in the Amazon region of the country.

Though its magnitude was strong enough to cause major damage, the quake occurred deep beneath the earth’s surface — about 118 miles (190 km) down, according to local authorities — making its impact far less than a shallow quake.

The epicentre of the quake was in the province of Pastaza, which does not have oil fields. Most of Ecuador’s petroleum operations are in the provinces of Sucumbios and Orellana.

Local radio with reporters in the area said buildings swayed. Some residents in the capital Quito felt the quake as did residents in northern parts of neighbouring Peru, witnesses and local media reported.

“It scared me a lot,” said Kelly Brito, 15, who felt the quake in coastal city Guayaquil. “We all ran outside without really knowing what to do.”

The quake struck at 12:54 p.m. British time and was centred 87 miles (140 km) east of Ambato, and about 140 miles (225 km) southeast of the capital, Quito.

The USGS initially reported the quake as 6.7 magnitude, then revised the strength to 7.2, before putting the figure at 6.9.

The U.S. Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said a tsunami did not appear to be generated, based on historical models.

Additional reporting by Eugenia Tello and Mario Naranjo; writing by Patrick Markey and Hugh Bronstein; editing by Vicki Allen

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